SUNDAY HOMILY FOR THE 17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
THEME: Humility, Gentleness, and Patience
BY: Rev. Fr. Anthony O. EZEAPUTA, MA.
HOMILY: When I consider how simple it is to obtain a wide range of books, DVD series, online resources, and seminars designed to assist us in our daily walk with Jesus, I consider myself fortunate and blessed to live in this Christian era. Despite having all of these resources at our disposal, there may be no more pressing question for a Christian in the twenty-first century than what it means to be a Christian today.
We were created as men and women to love, know, and serve God, not as angels or superhumans. God could have made something else if He had wanted to. Instead, God created us to become truly human in his presence, which is the goal of the Christian life. It all comes down to you becoming a new Jesus of Nazareth, one who is filled with the Holy Spirit. A Christian is called to live by the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit (CCC 1830). “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Rom. 8:14).
In today’s Second Reading (Ephesians 4:1-6), Saint Paul exhorts us to live a life worthy of our Christian calling. He offers us humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another through love, and striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace as practical ways to live up to this call. Let us take a few moments to consider humility, gentleness, and patience.
“Humility” according to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “is a virtue by which a man, knowing himself as he truly is, abases himself.” His definition is consistent with St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition, “The virtue of humility consists of keeping oneself within one’s own bounds, not reaching out to things above one, but submitting to one’s superior.” These two Church giants define humility in terms of self-awareness. They acknowledge that God created us from nothing (Creatio ex nihilo) and that we were nothing until God creates us to be his children. This knowledge humbles us. “…for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Gentleness is the capacity to feel empathy for another person. It is concerned with another person’s well-being, safety, and security. A gentle approach is cautious, considerate, affectionate, and mild-mannered, with no pushiness, roughness, or abrasiveness. Jesus Christ exemplifies the beauty of the virtue of gentleness with the story of the woman caught in adultery. “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:10-11).
Patience is the virtue of suffering interruption or delay with composure and without complaint; to suffer annoyance, insult, or mistreatment with self-restraint, refusing to be provoked; and to suffer burdens and difficult tasks with resolve and determination. It is also the willingness to slow down for another’s benefit, to set aside one’s personal plans and concerns, to go at another’s pace, and to take whatever time is necessary to address their need.
The patience of Jesus is described in 1 Peter (2:23) as follows: When he was insulted, he did not retaliate. When he suffered, he did not threaten. It was his habit to commit the matter to the one who judges fairly.” The life of Jesus Christ teaches us that some things must be left for God to take care of.
Dear brothers and sisters, humility, gentleness, patience, mutual loving support, and the desire for peace are the normal expression of the life of a Christian. And these virtues can be acquired by human effort (CCC. 1804). At this Holy Mass, let us pray for the grace to exercise control over our intellect and will in order to be able to direct our actions, control our passions, and guide our behavior in accordance with reason and faith.
Homily for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
July 25th, 2021.